Chocolate tastes so good that often we can’t help but feeling a bit guilty about eating it. But is chocolate actually bad for our health? As many of you may know already, the answer comes with great relief and is NO, chocolate may actually help you keep healthy. How? Read on and find out everything about this delicious superfood!
The darker the better
First, not all types of chocolate are healthy. So, if you’re already reaching out for a chocolate candy bar... hold on! Chocolate’s nutritional goodness comes from cacao, a bean that is packed with healthy chemicals like flavonoids and theobromine. The only problem? Cacao on its own is bitter, chalky and overall nasty to the taste buds. This is why most chocolate bars also contain sugar, milk, butter and other substances which have the only effect of diluting the benefits of cacao and adding on the calorie count.
To keep it beneficial and still delicious, choose the least processed
chocolates possible containing 70% of cacao and up. Many brands, like Hershey’s, sell pure cocoa powder, which you can add to your smoothies or yogurt for maximum benefits.
A healthier heart
Once determined which kind of chocolate is good for you, let’s pass on to the actual benefits. Research from different institutes proves that chocolate has cardiovascular benefits. Thanks to a high concentration in antioxidant flavonoids, chocolate may help keep your blood pressure under control and reduce the risk of heart attack. On the other hand though, as these antioxidants come together with a great amount of sugar, eating chocolate is not an excuse to cut down exercise.
Actually, studies have shown that together, chocolate and exercise, maximize each other’s benefits to your body. So, why not treat yourself a guilt-free piece of chocolate after exercising?
A brighter brain
Ever felt like it’s impossible to focus at work or at school and you’re just too distracted to get anything done? Here’s your solution! Chocolate seems to increase the blood flow to the brain, helping you improve your cognitive functions. The effects of alertness and receptiveness may last up to 3 hours after consumption, also thanks to its small caffeine content.
Moreover, chocolate is also believed to be a stress reliever. So, grab that chocolate snack, not only will it help your body ward off the effects of stress on the work place, but it'll also boost your brain power when you really need it.
Lose weight the yummy way
Yes, we’ve said it. Eating dark chocolate might actually help you lose weight. Before you reach out for a huge chunk though, let us remind you that chocolate is really high in calories and the secret to its benefits lies in moderation. Eat it as a substitute for unhealthy snacks or whenever you experience a sweet craving; it will make you feel satisfied and will help you control your appetite, thus producing weight-loss effects.
So, instead of reaching out for a cookie, a sneaker or a sugared drink, just go for dark chocolate, an equally delicious option with much higher benefits to your body.
If you need some inspiration for yummy yet healthy December treats, follow our recipe section and find out the many ways you can indulge during the holiday season without falling into unhealthy habits.
----- Buy Fair Trade chocolate whenever possible. It’ll taste even better as you’re doing good, and will make a huge difference to the lives of cocoa farmers and their families around the world.